The New Zealand racer landed in the U.S. last week to begin his training. His regimen included spending the weekend in Nashville with his team, witnessing his teammate, Ross Chastain, clinch pole position and an impressive victory.
Being intimately exposed to oval racing has captured Van Gisbergen’s fascination, with the Kiwi expressing at a pre-race press conference that watching from the sidelines has left him eager to participate.
Subsequently, he is now highly receptive to the idea of a NASCAR debut on a speedway in the future. He even broached the topic with Trackhouse chief, Justin Marks.
“We briefly discussed it earlier,” Van Gisbergen commented. “I hadn’t really given much thought to oval racing previously, but it would be an exciting opportunity.
“Watching the incredible dedication of the drivers during the qualifying rounds yesterday, the entire day of waiting leading up to one solitary lap, and seeing who had the courage to outpace others into the first turn, was intriguing to witness.
“It was frustrating being a spectator, as I yearned to be in the driver’s seat. I’d love to give it a try someday.”
Van Gisbergen completed a seat fitting and is set to experience his first real-world NASCAR drive tomorrow (US time), where he’ll test the Trackhouse Chevrolet on the Charlotte Roval. He will subsequently return to the simulator before taking on the streets of Chicago next weekend.
“Tomorrow’s brief test should give me a sense of the car, assuming the weather cooperates,” he added. “The aim is to get comfortable with the car and confirm that everything is in order. After that, it’s mostly simulator work.
“I have a couple of simulator sessions to learn the ropes and get used to the car and the team’s dynamics, including interaction with the engineer and crew chief.
“The strategy is quite unique, so I need to dedicate substantial time to study that; for example, the pit closes when the yellow flag is out, there’s no pit speed limiter, and other such aspects. Mastering the management of these elements of the race, which are quite different, is crucial.
“Although we’re not competing for points and don’t need to concentrate on stages and such, we still need to give our best and respect the other racers. These individuals compete for their championship every week, so it’s important to maintain professionalism and avoid causing disruptions.”
Currently under contract with Triple Eight in Supercars until the end of 2024, Van Gisbergen has been quite transparent about his interest in venturing abroad post that.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Van Gisbergen NASCAR debut
When is Van Gisbergen making his NASCAR debut?
Van Gisbergen is set to make his NASCAR debut at the Chicago street race next weekend as part of Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 programme.
Which team is Van Gisbergen joining for his NASCAR debut?
Van Gisbergen is joining Trackhouse Racing for his NASCAR debut.
What sparked Van Gisbergen’s interest in NASCAR oval racing?
Van Gisbergen’s interest in NASCAR oval racing was sparked by his close experience with it when he witnessed his teammate, Ross Chastain, clinch pole position and a victory at the Nashville race.
Has Van Gisbergen discussed his interest in NASCAR oval racing with Trackhouse boss Justin Marks?
Yes, Van Gisbergen has discussed his interest in NASCAR oval racing with Trackhouse boss Justin Marks.
Where and when will Van Gisbergen get his first real-world NASCAR experience?
Van Gisbergen will get his first real-world NASCAR experience on the Charlotte Roval, where he’ll test the Trackhouse Chevrolet.
What is Van Gisbergen’s contract status with Triple Eight in Supercars?
Van Gisbergen is under contract with Triple Eight in Supercars until the end of 2024.
Is Van Gisbergen open to racing overseas after his contract with Triple Eight ends?
Yes, Van Gisbergen has expressed openness to an overseas move after his contract with Triple Eight ends in 2024.